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William Curtis

Inducted: 1979, contributor

Born: January 17, 1837 - Salisbury, Vermont
Deceased: June 30, 1900

William "Father Bill" Curtis was one of the prime movers behind the development of track and field in the U.S. A free-lance writer and a versatile athlete, Curtis in 1866 became the guiding spirit behind the New York Athletic Club. The club officially got underway in 1868 and it held New York City's first indoor meet on November 11 at the Empire City Skating Rink. One of the first winners in that meet was Curtis, who ran the 75-yard dash in 9.0. On that occasion, he became the first athlete to wear spiked shoes on an American track team although they were in common use in England. Curtis was used to winning. From 1852 to 1872, he took on all comers in the 100-yard dash and never lost a race. He also was a three-time National AAU champion in the hammer throw and earned another title in the 56-pound weight throw. A colorful writer, Curtis went on to become publisher of the city's foremost sports newspaper.

Free-lance writer

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